The highly anticipated Basketball World Cup, organized by FIBA, is set to tip off this Friday. This edition brings a unique twist, as the first two rounds will be hosted across three countries before the climax unfolds in Manila to determine the coveted champions, who will be awarded the Naismith Trophy and gold medals on September 10.
Spain enters this tournament as the reigning champion, having clinched victory in China four years ago. In contrast, the United States experienced a disappointing seventh-place finish in that event, marking their worst showing in a major international competition. Nonetheless, Team USA carries the weight of high expectations and stands as the tournament favorites.
Anthony Edwards, representing the Minnesota Timberwolves, has seized the title of the best player through a series of exhibition games, with a remarkable performance of 34 points in a victory over Germany last weekend.
Key figures on the American roster include the dynamic duo from the Brooklyn Nets, Mikal Bridges and Cam Johnson, the towering Memphis Grizzlies center Jaren Jackson Jr., New Orleans Pelicans All-Star Brandon Ingram, Los Angeles Lakers guard Austin Reaves, and a pair of promising point guards in Jalen Brunson and Tyrese Haliburton.
Haliburton expressed the collective sentiment of the American team, emphasizing the players’ determination to overcome the skepticism surrounding their chances: “Everybody here has a little bit of a chip on their shoulder because I think we all know that the world is looking at us like ‘This is the time that we’re going to beat the United States,’ and that bothers the (heck) out of everybody.”
Now, the question is, how do the Americans rebound from their previous FIBA World Cup experience?
The 32 participating teams are divided into eight groups of four. After the first two rounds, the top two teams from each group will advance to the second round, and the top eight teams after the second round will progress to the quarterfinals.
Here’s a glimpse of the opening games for all 32 teams:
FRIDAY, AUGUST 25
Group A (at Manila): Angola vs. Italy, Dominican Republic vs. Philippines
Group D (at Manila): Mexico vs. Montenegro, Egypt vs. Lithuania
Group E (at Okinawa): Finland vs. Australia, Germany vs. Japan
Group H (at Jakarta): Latvia vs. Lebanon, Canada vs. France
SATURDAY, AUGUST 26
Group B (at Manila): South Sudan vs. Puerto Rico, Serbia vs. China
Group C (at Manila): Jordan vs. Greece, United States vs. New Zealand
Group F (at Okinawa): Cape Verde vs. Georgia, Slovenia vs. Venezuela
Group G (at Jakarta): Iran vs. Brazil, Spain vs. Ivory Coast
How to watch the FIBA World Cup of basketball
In the U.S., the first three U.S. games (scheduled for August 26, August 28, and August 30) will be broadcast on ESPN2. Game times for August 26 and August 28 are set for 8:40 a.m. EDT, while the August 30 game kicks off at 4:40 a.m. EDT. There are also streaming options available for other games.
Which NBA players are participating in the FIBA World Cup 2023?
Notably, there are two All-NBA players in the tournament: Luka Doncic from Slovenia (Dallas Mavericks) and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander from Canada (Oklahoma City Thunder). In addition, six All-Stars from last season are part of the World Cup field, including Finland’s Lauri Markkanen (Utah Jazz) and several U.S. players.
Betting on the Basketball World Cup: Where’s the Value?
FanDuel Sportsbook favors the United States as the overwhelming favorites to clinch the World Cup, with odds listed at minus-130. France and Canada are the joint second choices, both with odds of plus-950. For those seeking value, Slovenia, led by Luka Doncic, is starting with odds of plus-2,100.
FIBA World Cup 2023 Schedule:
- August 25-30: First Round
- August 31-September 3: Second Round and classification for 17th through 32nd place
- September 4: No games
- September 5-6: Quarterfinals
- September 7: Playoffs for 5th through 8th place
- September 8: Semifinals
- September 9: Playoffs for 5th through 8th place
- September 10: Gold medal game and bronze medal game